When you get into the month of November in the world of college football, everything gets more difficult. The regular season is winding down, the games on the schedule have increased in importance, and injuries are often starting to mount for even the best teams.
Health of a roster is often what determines winners from losers, with the best schools at the end of the year largely benefitting from a roster that looks close to what it did at the start of the year as far as availability goes.
For Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks, that health is absolutely part of the reason that they are playing at such a high level right now, ranked No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings that came out on Tuesday night. At the moment, while there are certainly some knicks and bruises and various ailments felt throughout the locker room, Oregon has been able to keep a largely clean bill of health thus far in the season.
For that, Lanning gives credit to the team’s medical staff, as well as the strength and conditioning team.
“They do a phenomenal job,” Lanning said. “We have a meeting every single day to give an update of where we’re at. I think what we do in sports science here is really special.”
While treating injuries is part of the game, what the Ducks have been very successful at so far under Lanning’s watch is identifying potential injuries before they happen, and working to prevent them. The latest technology in sports science has allowed them to stay a step ahead, and ease off in certain areas before a breaking point is met.
“You know, I think we’re able to prevent a lot of injuries because before we get to an injury, we realize that a player’s player load is high or his hamstring strength isn’t where it needs to be and we’re able to pull off of them,” Lanning said. “We modify practice to make sure that they’re able to see the field where I think a lot of places in the country don’t have this technology or the ability to use that.”
That’s why, often times when we don’t see a player practicing during the week throughout the season, it doesn’t mean that they’re out for the weekend’s action. Instead, it’s frequently the case that the player is spending time focusing on a certain injury concern and working to make sure they address it before it gets too serious.
On top of that, Lanning says that the team has changed their pre-game routine this year, where they now do what is called a “primer lift” before games to make sure that the athletes are in the right physical condition to exert their bodies.
“We didn’t do that in the past and that’s been something that’s really good for us to activate their body, get them ready for battle, and they’ve done a good job of that,” Lanning said.
There is still a month left in the season, so the Ducks are not at the finish line just yet. However, thus far in the season, it’s been impressive to watch how they’ve handed maintaining the health on the roster and getting the players ready for action each and every week.
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